Challenge: Occurrence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing worldwide, and particularly among younger subjects who are more susceptible to renal complications that can lead to renal failure. Such diabetic nephropathy (DN) is present in about 40% of T2D patients. Treatments exist to control renal damage due to T2D but these interventions are most effective when administered early and even best if given before appearance of symptoms. Not all patients with T2D develop renal damage. Identifying those at risk is problematic because even albuminuria, often used clinically as an indicator of future renal dysfunction, does not always precede worsening renal function and to treat all, when only about 40% will be affected, is costly and not without risk.
Solution: The team is developing predictive tools for susceptibility to diabetic nephropathy based on genetic markers present in T2D subjects before the occurrence of any renal defect. Their work builds on results from the largest trial on T2D. The team has identified genes associated with renal impairment and will now select the variations of these genes that will allow detection of subjects susceptible to suffer from renal consequences of T2D before they start.
Impact: Predicting susceptibility to renal complications in T2D patients should allow preventive treatments on these patients and therefore improving their conditions. The test should also have economic benefits through reduction of unnecessary treatments.
Université de Montréal